• on May 13, 2021

Around the World with SEMC: Camp Mishewah

Welcome to week FOUR of Around the World with SEMC! We’re going “around the world” to check in on what God is doing in the various places that he has connected us as a church body to. This week we are hearing from Camp Mishewah!
Located in Killaloe, ON, Camp Mishewah has been a much loved retreat for our SEMC family for generations! Thank you to Steve and Jeanette Balzar for sharing with us about what is going on these days at camp.
1. How does your geographic location affect the work that you are doing?
Camp Mishewah is at least 5 hours from most EMC churches.  For some it is a lot more!  And of course, we are a seasonal camp, so we only have 2 months of active ministry at the camp. This does create challenges, as not everyone can actually make it to camp, and it is not always easy to stay connected over the winter months.  But when camps are running, we pack a lot of things into that brief time!  We see many people come to the camp over the summer.  Families, couples, individuals, children, youth, volunteers, and staff members attend and find encouragement and refreshment.  We plan for the other 10 months of the year to make these experiences the best they can be.  And we have people who help us stay connected the best we can over the off season via email, social media, and mailings.  

2. How has covid-19 impacted, changed or affected your ministry?
Covid 19 has had a big impact on the ministry at Camp Mishewah.  In 2020 we had to cancel all our programs for family and youth camps.  We were allowed to open as a campground, so this was a huge blessing to the camp.  Many people had registered for family camp in February and kept their reservations, hoping we could open the camp.  Even without our regular programming, it was a wonderful and busy summer.   People came, enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, and made use of the waterfront and outdoor activities.  Because we were not running overnight youth camps in August, we were able to make all the accommodations available for rentals.  This kept us going and we even made new connections with people who previously had no knowledge of the camp.  Some found us when looking for a place to camp, unable to book elsewhere due to the busyness of provincial and private parks.  People just wanted to get away and be outdoors.  Due to the generosity of many who cancelled their initial reservations due to Covid, then donate their fees back to the camp, and the steady stream of guests, we were able to finish the year in a very good place financially.  We also had a successful Mish-in-a-Box option.  Those children that signed up for this received a box full of “a week of camp at home”.  We a very positive response to this.
Another thing that Covid affected is the momentum that is normally created from year to year during youth camps.  Campers come back year after year, move on to counselling when they are old enough, then often apply to be summer staff.   With a year of no camps, and possibly another summer in 2021 without youth programs, it will make it very difficult in 2022 to draw kids and youth back to Mishewah.  We anticipate having to work more diligently at recruiting and connecting in the coming year.  2022 is Mishewah’s 50th Anniversary year, so much thought and planning are being put into promotions already.
3. As the SEMC we use the acronym “SPRinG” to represent the calling of
our church family to “Serve, Pray, and Respond in the Grace of God”. How
are you able to “SPRinG” in your community and work?
We are looking for ways to not only serve the people of the EMC family of churches, but also connect with the community that Mishewah is situated in.  We wanted to host an event for our neighbours, but last year, and possibly this year, the time was not right. But we do want to plan that for the future.  We have had the opportunity to get to know some neighbours though, and we are looking at the possibility of volunteering at a local event in August of this year.  We want to reach out a show Gods love to those right around us and be good neighbours.  
We cannot do anything at Mishewah without prayer and asking God to go before us and behind us.  We commit each day, week, and season to Him.  We believe Mishewah is holy ground, and with God’s help and direction, we are the caretakers of it.  Each and every person that comes on to the grounds is there for a reason and we want to help facilitate a time of spiritual growth and refreshment for them.
We believe that by responding in love and compassion to everyone we have a connection to, whether guests, staff, neighbours, through emails or phone calls, we can be representatives of Jesus.  We want to help those around us, whatever the needs might be, and be used by God to show grace and kindness.  Anything less, and we are failing in our job.
More information about Camp Mishewah can be found by visiting their website at
Instagram: @sarniaemc
Spotify: Sarnia EMC Music
Recent Posts
Sign-Up for SEMC Updates

Skin Color
Layout Options
Layout patterns
Boxed layout images
header topbar
header color
header position